Management systems for ethical legal practice (MSELP)

These core elements will assist lawyers and law firms in establishing management systems for ethical legal practice (MSELP). They were identified through consideration of the Legal Profession Act, the Code of Professional Conduct, Practice Standards and regulations establishing requirements for the practice of law, with input from lawyers and other stakeholders, and lessons learned from complaints and claims made against lawyers in Nova Scotia.

Lawyers and law firms are required to have in place all of the elements that apply to the specific entity, in order to have an effective management system for ethical legal practice, and demonstrate that the lawyer or firm is engaged in and committed to the following:

  1. Maintaining appropriate file and records management systems;
  2. Communicating in an effective, timely and civil manner;
  3. Ensuring confidentiality;
  4. Avoiding conflicts of interest;
  5. Developing competent practices;
  6. Ensuring effective management of the law firm and staff;
  7. Charging appropriate fees and disbursements;  
  8. Sustaining effective and respectful relationships with clients, colleagues, courts, regulators and the community;
  9. Working to improve diversity, inclusion and substantive equality; and 
  10. Working to improve the administration of justice and access to legal services.

Law firms will be required to use these elements as principles for creating and maintaining an effective ethical infrastructure that fits the nature, scope and characteristics of their practice. The elements describe ‘what’ law firms will be asked to achieve but not ‘how’ to get there.

  1. FAQs about MSELP
  2. Full MSELP Instructions & Description
  3. MSELP Workbook
  4. Resource Portal
  5. Self-Assessment Tool

Council approved a draft Self-assessment Tool on March 24, 2016 for purposes of a pilot project that concluded in the spring of 2017. For results of the pilot, see the Legal Services Support Pilot Project Final Report (June 6, 2017) and Preliminary Report (February 17, 2017) .


Since November 2015, the Society has engaged in an extensive consultation process with the profession about transforming regulation in general and specifically, legal services regulation and the management system for ethical legal practice (MSELP). For details on highlights and feedback from the consultations thus far, see Legal Services Regulation – the consultation process.    

For details on the development of the original draft elements, see Appendix A, page 26 of Transforming Regulation and Governance Project: Phase 4, prepared by Creative Consequences P/L.